We begin our journey in South India
No matter what places you visit in the world, sharing plates of food offers the chance to connect with the faces you meet. So this is how we came up with the idea for Faces, Places and Plates.
Cooking with locals creates insights into their daily life and culture. Lasting connections are forged – even when language is not possible. The human craving for connection is fulfilled and the chance for real friendship and understanding blossoms.
This has been our experience as we travel. And we’ve created this blog so that you can share in the connections we’ve made with cooks and their cultures around the world.
You might take the ideas we present here and be inspired to book a trip. You might expand your cooking repertoire by trying some of the recipes. Or, you might just curl-up and enjoy these stories and photos of far-off destinations from the comfort of a cozy armchair. It’s all good.
Let the faces draw you in. Learn about the places. Enjoy the vivid photography of plates of food. The dishes you’ll see here are born of human ingenuity and unique geography.
We are happy to take you on this journey. We begin this enterprise by focusing on the many journeys we’ve enjoyed in South India.
South India is made up of the five states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In September of 2016, we spent 24 days travelling and doing research in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In the fall of 2017, we visited Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka and did further research in Kerala and Tamil Nadu over another 20 days. We covered over 2000 kilometres by automobile and another 1767 kilometres by plane.
South India is lush and tropical with a bounty of spices, rice, vegetables and fruits. Three oceans bathe its shores and yield delectable fishes and seafood. Water buffalo and dairy cows produce rich milks for clarified butter (ghee), cheeses (paneer), yogurts and ice creams.
The vast plains of Tamil Nadu grow grains; the backwaters of Kerala are “the rice bowl” of the country. The influence of Moghul and English invaders and Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and French traders have all left indelible marks on the cuisine. The clever resourcefulness of the aboriginal tribal people’s food is increasingly popular.
So many people have supported our travel and made this research possible. Stay tuned for stories and photography from Kochi, Periyar, Alleppey, Wayanad and Kozhikode in Kerala; Karaikudi, Puducherry, Mamallapuram and Coimbatore in Tamilnadu; Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka and Hyderabad, the twin capital city of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. You’ll get to meet the renowned chefs, cooking instructors, wonderful home cooks and street vendors we cooked with.
This blog is born of a longing to connect you with these friends we’ve made. The joy of sharing new plates of food and the stories of the faces and the places we’ve travelled to is something we did not want to keep to ourselves. We hope you’ll come along on the journey.
We are grateful to the following organizations for arranging and sponsoring our travel:
All words and photos are our own and were not shared with any sponsors prior to publication.